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No swimming: Toxic bacteria afflicts Mississippi coast

June 26, 2019
FILE- In this May 10, 2019 file photo, workers open bays of the Bonnet Carre Spillway, to divert rising water from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain, upriver from New Orleans, in Norco, La. Floodwaters carried down from the Midwest are killing oysters and driving crabs, shrimp and finfish out of Louisiana and Mississippi bays and marshes to saltier waters. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
FILE- In this May 10, 2019 file photo, workers open bays of the Bonnet Carre Spillway, to divert rising water from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain, upriver from New Orleans, in Norco, La. Floodwaters carried down from the Midwest are killing oysters and driving crabs, shrimp and finfish out of Louisiana and Mississippi bays and marshes to saltier waters. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (AP) — An outbreak of toxic bacteria is ruining some beach plans in Mississippi, where authorities are warning people not to swim or eat seafood from polluted coastal waters.

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality released a list of 10 closed beaches in two of the three coastal counties, Hancock and Harrison. People shouldn’t even allow their pets to come in contact with water that has a greenish-blue hue.

The toxic cyanobacterium can cause rashes, diarrhea and vomiting.

Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Joe Spraggins blames fresh water entering the Mississippi Sound. A New Orleans spillway has been open for a historically long time to relieve pressure on levees from the flooded Mississippi River. The fresh water influx is creating a dead zone without oxygen where marine life can’t survive.

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